House & Garden

The Basics of Tree Risk Analysis and Management

January 12, 2017

No matter how many or few trees you have on your property, you want to rest assured that these are safe. The best route to have this ensured is to have a talk with an arborist or conservationist.

What is those trees’ value to you?

Trees can be valuable in so many ways. To start protecting yours, you must be clear about what they mean to you. Do they have a financial value? Are there aesthetic and environmental benefits connected to the trees on your property? A tree specialist can help you understand their values to you too.

Assessing the risk

Ill, broken, damaged, weak or drying out trees are dangerous, especially when these are in or next to high traffic areas. Not every tree must stay. Conserving trees comes with a limit. Get a proper evaluation done by experts. The best is to obtain an arborist tree report which will carefully weight very relevant aspect, including age, health/condition, structural integrity and value. If there is any hazard risk involved, removing a tree might prove to be more productive than keeping it and increasing the risk.

Possible targets

Not only trees lining a street can be dangerous. Broken branches falling off in a garden may hit someone strolling or standing in the shade. All activities carried out in the vicinity of trees must be counted. Animals can be targets too, not only humans. Also, the target may be a vehicle or a construction. Falling branches or trunks can cause serious damage to properties.

The importance of regular risk assessment

Carrying out the risk assessment procedure only once is not sufficient. This is because future events may severely alter the condition of the said trees. For example, your trees may be alright now, having a perfect structural integrity, but in the event of a storm, their structure can be compromised. Strong winds may cause cracks, thus increasing the risk significantly, compared to the level during the assessment. Given this aspect, one should know that there is no specific time frame recommended between risk assessment procedures. It is best to schedule one right after a damaging climatic event.

Saving damaged trees

A high risk tree is not a tree that needs to be cut down. There are various measures that can be taken for preservation, from pruning to installing support systems. This is especially useful when you need to prolong the life of a tree with a special value.

Sometimes, the tree owner will be given the power to decide. It may be up to you to decide which level of risk you are going to accept when a hazardous tree is on your property. The final solution will not always be a verdict given by arborists.